U18 Trophy reclaimed by Poland Girls and Championship France take Championship Title
The Poland under-18 girls squad clearly took confidence from seeing the senior team win the Rugby Europe Championship sevens series title in Krakow earlier this month because they have now hit the heights themselves as they become U18 European Champions.
Playing in Zabki, Poland, the home side played some excellent rugby in the Rugby Europe under-18 Trophy sevens event at the weekend just gone to come out on top.
In front of a very supportive crowd, they took the gold medal while Germany took the silver and Hungary took the bronze.
Romania were fourth, Turkey were fifth, Lithuania were sixth, Andorra were seventh, Sweden were eighth and Latvia were ninth.
In the boys Rugby Europe under-18 Championship sevens played at the same location, the hosts could not rise to the same heights as the girls in the face of some stiff opposition.
The Poland boys team finished 11th, but learnt a lot from the weekend with Romania 12th, Israel 10th and Ukraine eighth.
Given what has been going on in their country of late it was brilliant to see the Ukraine squad there and they can be proud of how they represented themselves and their families, indeed their win over Poland was one of the highlights of the tournament.
In the first quarter-final after the pool stage, France showed that they meant business with a 55-0 thumping of Lithuania.
Ireland then progressed to the last four by seeing off Germany 24-5, Portugal turned on the style to see off Czechia 43-7 and Spain saw off Belgium 22-7.
In the semi-finals, France were made to fight hard before getting the better of Spain 17-0 and there was a cracker of a tie between Ireland and Portugal.
Ireland got through 19-12 to set-up a final with the French to see who would become u18s 7s European Champions.
The Irish pushed France harder than anyone else over the weekend, but the latter held their nerve to come out on top 21-7 and pick up the gold medal and 20 points.
Ireland took home silver and 18 points while Portugal managed to secure the bronze and 16 points.
Spain were fourth, Czechia fifth, Lithuania sixth, Belgium seventh and Germany completed the top eight with it clear that in women’s and men’s sevens in Europe there is loads of exciting talent coming through the ranks.
By Gary Heatly
Photos by Wojciech Symanski